NHL’s Calgary Flames signs 35-year deal for new arena

Plans for a new NHL arena in Calgary have been formalised after a agreement was signed between the Calgary Flames’ owners and city authorities.

A 35-year agreement between Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC), City of Calgary and Calgary Stampede will keep the NHL team in the city for that time at a new C$550m (£343.7m/€375.3m/$418.3m), 19,000-seat arena.

Work on the venue, which will also host the Calgary Stampede rodeo and other local hockey and lacrosse teams, is expected to begin in 2021, with the existing Scotiabank Saddledome to be demolished between 2024 and 2025.

The venue is part of a wider downtown revitalisation and new entertainment district.

John Bean, chief executive of Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, said: “This represents another important step in the process that was announced in July 2019. We now turn our attention to the execution of the project and look forward to working closely with the City, CMLC, and the Stampede as we begin to set out plans for the design and construction of the Event Centre.”

Calgary lawmakers voted in July 2019 to proceed with plans for the new arena, designed to serve as public gathering places for significant events, attract world-leading performing artists and serve as a new home to local professional and amateur sports teams.

In addition to the new event centre, the vision for the area adjacent to the facility includes a purpose-built outdoor festival space and infrastructure enhancements to Stampede Park, all of which are designed to serve as a catalyst for the development of Calgary’s Culture and Entertainment District.

The cost of the event centre will be shared 50/50 between the City and CSEC. With its 50 per cent investment, the City will own 100 per cent of the event centre. CSEC will bear 100 per cent of the operating, maintenance and repair costs for the period of the 35-year agreement, committing the Flames to Calgary over this term.

The project represents the third attempt to broker such an agreement in the past four years. The Flames have played at the 19,000-capacity Scotiabank Saddledome since it opened in 1983, but have long been seeking a new arena.

Image: Calgary Flames/Rosetti